Body oval, often quite large (5 mm); somewhat rounded in lateral view; dark green almost black; legs red; covered by thin, white, mealy wax, with dark dorsosubmedial bare spots on intersegmental areas of thorax and abdomen, these areas forming 1 pair of dark longitudinal lines on dorsum; ovisac absent from dorsum, but well developed ventally; with 18 pairs of lateral wax filaments, posterior pairs longest, up to _ of length of the body. Normally occurring on crown of host. Surface of lateral filaments rough.
This species was intercepted 198 times at U. S. ports-of-entry between 1995 and 2012, with specimens originating from Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Cote D’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Guyana, Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Palestinian Territory, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Tortola, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, The United Arab Emirates, and The U. S. Virgin Islands. It is polyphagous; therefore, we have not recorded older quarantine records. ScaleNet lists the species from more than 50 families of host plants, and distribution records include all zoogeographic regions of the world (it is most common in the new world). Several species of Phenacoccus other than P.defectus Ferris, P. franseriae Ferris, P. gossypii Townsend & Cockerell, P. hakeae Williams, P. helianthi (Cockerell), P. madeirensis Green, P. parvus Morrison, P. solani Ferris, P. solenopsis and P. stelli (Brain) have been taken at U. S. ports-of-entry including: P. alleni McKenzie (Mexico, on Artemisia); P. avenae Borchsenius (Turkey, on Stachys); P. azaleae Kuwana (Japan, on azalea); P. graminicola Leonardi (New Zealand, on Feijoa); P. hurdi McKenzie (Mexico, on Dendranthema and Capsicum); P. indicus Avasthi & Shafee (Thailand, on Euphorbia); P. multicerarii Granara de Willink (Mexico, on unknown host); P. manihoti Matile-Ferrero (Central Africa and South America, on Manihot); P. nephelii Takahashi (Thailand, on Garcinia; Vietnam, on Nephelium); P. pergandei Cockerell (Japan and Korea, on Diospyros, Magnolia, Malus, Prunus, Punica, and Rhododendron); and P. persimplex Borchsenius (Kazakhstan, on Malus).